Canada has secured the first match of the new ATP Cup with Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime winning their singles matches against Stefanos Tsitsipas and Michail Pervolarakis of Greece.
The 24-team tournament is kicking off the men's tennis season for 2020, with matches underway Friday in Brisbane and Sydney on Australia's east coast and Perth in Western Australia state. The Canadians took an unassailable 2-0 lead ahead of the doubles match when Shapolvalov held off No. 6-ranked Tsitsipas 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) in just over two hours in the second of the singles matches in Brisbane. The 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime needed only 69 minutes for a 6-1, 6-3 win over Pervolarakis, the Greek No. 2 who finished last season at No. 487 in the rankings. "It's always amazing to be part of the team and have kind of a team feeling – it's pretty rare on the tour, so I definitely love it and I always feel like I thrive off that atmosphere," Shapovalov said., "So, yeah, I'm really happy, happy with the result today."
No. 15-ranked Shapovalov now has a 3-1 lead in career meetings over ATP Finals champion Tsitsipas, who was unable to convert his breakpoint chances in the seventh and 11th games of the second set and then had a double-fault on match point.
"It's definitely a huge win for me. Obviously, he had an unbelievable end to the season and he's definitely one of the top players in the world right now," Shapovalov said. "He's got a great game. So to beat a guy like this first match of the year, it's really special for me. It means a lot."
The United States took the first singles off Norway in Group D when Taylor Fritz beat Viktor Durasovic 6-2, 6-2 in Perth. John Isner was playing Casper Ruud in the second singles encounter. Belgium took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three match against Moldova, the last team to qualify, when Steve Darcis held off Alexander Cozbinov 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-5 in Sydney. David Goffin was playing Radu Albot in the second singles. The winners from each of the six groups and the two best runners-up will advance to the quarterfinals, which will start in Sydney on Jan. 9.
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